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Monday, July 22, 2024

Controversial Judicial Remuneration Bill: My take

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Dear fellow Gambians,

I am deeply dismayed by the recent developments surrounding the proposed bills in the National Assembly aimed at increasing the remuneration for judicial officers and members of the National Assembly. The profound shock and discontentment I feel have led me to stand in solidarity with those angered by it and protest against this concerning decision.

I am a huge proponent and firm believer that ALL public officers should receive fair compensation to live dignified lives, free from the burdens of poverty, allowing them to focus on their responsibilities without the worry of meeting their families’ basic needs. Furthermore, I advocate for equitable pay for the work done and a transparent system of remuneration, as these principles are vital in combating corruption and motivating public servants.

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Unfortunately, the current discussions on salary increments reveal a significant abuse of power and misplaced priorities favoring the privileged few at the expense of those in lower levels of our society. How can we justify a situation where the Speaker of the National Assembly receives D245,000 per month, while a police officer earns only D3000-3500? Such disparities are not only devoid of compassion but are also unjustifiable, underscoring the skewed priorities of the present government.

Amidst the challenges faced by ordinary Gambians due to the high cost of living, it is disheartening to see a focus on benefiting the wealthy minority rather than addressing the pressing needs of the majority. This system of “YEKALANTE” further perpetuates severe inequality, marginalises the most vulnerable in our society and erodes confidence. It is therefore imperative for the government to remember that they are servants of the people, not themselves, and to prioritise the welfare of all citizens.

I express my solidarity with the underpaid workers of The Gambia in rejecting the exploitation of the nation’s limited resources. Furthermore, such unjust practices tarnish the government’s reputation and erode public trust. I urge for a return to pragmatism, sound reasoning, empathy, and compassion in governance. Greed, selfishness and utter lack of compassion for the downtrodden MUST STOP.

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In closing, to those who cannot pay rent- I feel your pain; to those who cannot pay school fees for your children, I feel your pain; to those who cannot give food/fish money to your families, I feel your pain; to those who cannot buy needed medicine, I feel your pain; and to those experiencing other hardships, I feel your pain. And to all of you, I offer my unwavering support and assurance that real SYSTEM change for a better Gambia is on the horizon.

Sincerely yours,

Essa Mbye Faal


Women’s rights are human rights

Women represent half of humanity; moreover, they have given birth to the whole of humanity, remarked Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma from South Africa. On the Gambian voters’ register, more than half, or about 57 percent, are women, according to the electoral authority. Thus, improving the living, working and empowerment conditions of women is of utmost concern. And what to do in that regard, first and foremost, involves women and girls as their own liberators. Politicians and religious clerics, like the rest of us, have a duty to protect and support the rights of women and girls concerning their reproductive health and overall wellbeing. These human rights, including protection from harmful cutting or mutilation of genital parts, are enshrined in both domestic and international laws.

The Gambia’s Women Amendment Act (2015) now under threat of repeal, the Maputo Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003), the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1979), and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1987) entrusted to so-called Banjul Commission two years later, among other instruments, all oblige us to do the right thing in solidarity. Just like the open letter signed off by concerned persons following the deadly havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to join the signature list of support for women’s rights as human rights. That is, all solidarity avenues, including the letter of appeal against cancelling the ban on female genital mutilation/cutting recently published in the media, and signed off by a long list of renowned persons, Dr. Isatou Touray and Prof Abdoulie Saine among others. We are nothing here on earth, if we are not slaves of a cause, the cause of the people, our elder Frantz Fanon has taught us. We stand by the rights of women and girls, as human rights worth defending.

M Sajo J

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